AFC Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 1
Man United's week went from worse to disastrous as they fell to their third defeat of the league season to a revitalised Bournemouth.
With the amount of players missing United were ripe for the picking by The Cherries and that's exactly how it transpired on the south coast.
After the woes of Wolfsburg, it was supposed to be back to the bread and butter of the Premier League for United and a trip to take on and overpower Bournemouth, but his season has already proven that there are no easy matches and this was in evidence last week when Bournemouth beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Prior to this match, United were still in the mix at the top of the league and desperately needed a win to not only boost their ambitions of becoming champions for the first time since 2013 but to make a statement of intent to their many critics. This meant that the pressure was on for van Gaal and his team to turn things around.
However, with the huge disappointment of exiting the Champions League van Gaal had the difficult task of revitalising his players for the upcoming busy festive period a task made harder by even more players on the sidelines and a three-match ban for the influential Schweinsteiger.
Anybody who thinks the German star got banned on purpose to continue his tradition of a winter break must be very cynical indeed.
The side that van Gaal chose had a mixture of experience and youth as his hand had been forced due to the length of the injury list endured in recent weeks.
The first start for Borthwick-Jackson in defence alongside a back four including McNair, Blind and Varela gave the visitors an unfamiliar look at the back.
That unfamiliarity bore fruit as early as the second minute when the home side took the lead direct from a corner through Junior Stanislas that looped over David De Gea and evaded Martial on the line. A goal that had a breeze and little bit of luck behind it. They all count in the end.
At least United rallied and responded with a few chances and then a goal of their own before the half hour mark. After Memphis had done the hard work Fellaini was able to prod the ball home almost in a kneeling position. United will take the goals any way they can come these days.
As the match progressed it became all too clear that McNair and especially Borthwick-Jackson were in for a torrid time. The pace that is needed for the Premier League was lacking from the youngster at left-back and his positional play had a lot to be desired, especially when chasing back after trying to help with the attacks.
Manchester United Views is a Manchester United blog written by Miles Dunton, with lost of blog posts all about Manchester United. Check out his full blog at http://milesduntonmufc.blogspot.co.uk/.
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